Friday, November 30, 2007


Anyone who uses MSN Messenger, and sometimes has to change computers, might find this useful.

I just got a new laptop at work, and was trying to find a way to export my custom emoticons from the copy Messenger on the old laptop, and import them on the new one. There is no way to do this, using the application itself, but I found a tool on the internet called ConCon. It can export/import custom emoticons, background images and profile pictures, and a whole bunch of other things. I did run into a problem, where it was only able to import some of my emoticons, and then it would just quit on me, but I solved that problem by doing them one by one, until I found the one that had been causing the problem.

I can’t guarantee that the program is bug-free, I only used it for a couple of hours, but really, that’s all you need. In fact, if I hadn’t had problems with one particular emoticon, it would have probably only taken me a couple of minutes.

Scary Mary

See the following trailer, for the scariest movie coming out this season.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I don’t use the word “gross” very often, in real life. And yet, I’ve used it in four blog posts, to date, with this being my fifth. Anyway, onto the grodiness

I was playing bass, Sunday morning, with Jehovah Shalom. I don’t normally play bass, I play guitar, and bass strings are a lot heavier than guitar strings, so if you’re not used to playing bass, it can cause blisters very quickly. After practice, before the service, I looked down and noticed a big blister, full of… I don’t know, some kind of liquid. (This isn’t the gross part.)

During the service, I played the bass for my one song, and then I looked back down again, to see the shape of my blister. It had now formed a layer of chewed up skin, on top of the bubble. (This still isn’t the gross part.)

Sunday evening, I decided to get rid of this thing. I got a pin, and prepared to pop the blister. (This still isn’t the gross part.) I did so, and the fluid started coming out. Then I squeezed it, to make sure that I got it all. But, to my surprise, instead of just dribbling out, it squirted out, in a little stream. Right into my surprised mouth. (This is the gross part.)

Never have I turned on a tap and rinsed out my mouth so fast as I did when this… material was in and around my mouth. I don’t even know what it tasted like, because I moved so fast.

In future, if I get another blister on one of my fingers, I think I’ll wear protective headgear, when popping it.

My Finger

I hurt my finger on Friday. (My “swear” finger, if you’re interested.) I don’t think I sprained it, but it hurts nonetheless. It didn’t actually hurt on Friday, but when I woke up Saturday it was killing me. And ever since, I can feel it hurting whenever my hand touches or does anything. (It’s not killing me anymore, but it’s still hurting.)

This was bad news, because I was supposed to go bowling Saturday afternoon, to help raise money for METRAC. All morning long, every time I did anything with my hand, I could feel it, and I was thinking to myself “Oh dear. How am I ever going to bowl?!?”

As it turns out, my fears were ungrounded. Not only did I bowl well, I bowled the best game I’ve ever played! (I got 153, if you’re curious. That might not be too impressive for you, but for me, it was incredible.)

Monday, November 19, 2007


For those of you who are following US policy in the Middle East, I came across something interesting today, in a blog posting at The Nation:

… after years of scorning Arab-Israeli diplomacy, Rice has become such a freqent[sic] visitor to the region that she given[sic] birth to a new verb in Israeli government circles: “lecondel.” According to the New York Times, the verb—based on Ms. Rice’s first name—means “to come and go for meetings that produce few results.”
I didn’t bother to go searching for the NYT article.

“Girlfriend not satisfied with your…”

I get tempted, sometimes, to keep a log of all of the email subject lines, for spam that offers to introduce the size of my, ahem, “member”. They get pretty creative, sometimes, and I’m sure that people would get a kick out of seeing them all listed here.

The only thing that’s preventing me is that some of them aren’t fit to be reprinted. In fact… many of them aren’t fit to be reprinted.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Movie Review: Michael Clayton

I must say, every time I see a new George Clooney movie, I get more respect for him. Partially for his acting ability, and partially for his choice in movies/roles. (I’m told he’s a looker, too, but I don’t see it. heh.)

I saw Michael Clayton today, and I loved it. Without giving anything away, it’s about a lawyer—the Michael Clayton of the title—who has kind of a nebulous job description. He’s a “fixer”. (This may be part of the reason I had so much empathy for the Clayton character; I find myself in a similar situation. (In certain respects; I’m not saying I’m a lot like him.) People I work with find me very useful—maybe even indispensable, when things go wrong—but it’s very hard to tell people exactly what I do. And it would be hard to justify my job to “bean counters”, if I were ever pressed to do so.) Another lawyer in the firm, Arthur Edens, is manic depressive, and has a breakdown after going off his meds; Clayton is being asked to get Edens under control. The case Edens is working on, and has been working on for six years, is for a very large corporation, and is worth billions, which is what the plot hinges on.

It’s a smart script, and very well executed. I don’t normally talk about favourite scenes from a movie, but in this case, I did have two favourite scenes, and they were the first scene and the last scene.

The first scene, over the opening credits—if I remember correctly—is simply Eden’s voice. We don’t see him, we just hear his voice, while we see establishing shots of office buildings in New York. I was hooked just listening to him speak; I was going to post his speech here, but I couldn’t find a copy of the script online. (Oh, I’m sure it’s there somewhere. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if some smart arse posts a link to it hours after this gets published…)

And the last scene, over the closing credits, is the opposite. We just see a Clayton’s face; nobody is talking, and the camera never leaves his face.

I highly recommend the movie. I don’t know how much longer it will be playing—maybe by the time you read this it will be out of the theatres already—but there’s always the DVD you can rent, when it comes out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Couch

It’s been a while since I wrote a post to complain about some trifling event in my life. I guess it’s time for another one.

Andrea and I had been looking for a sofa-bed. We wanted to put a couch in our spare room, and make it a reading room, but still have somewhere for guests to sleep, if we ever have someone spend the night. So we decided to get a sofa-bed, but I was very picky—I’ve heard too many horror stories about the poor comfort level of sofa-beds, for sleeping, so I wanted to get a good one. We finally found a good one at the Bay, and bought it.

It was scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday. Here’s how it went down:

When we bought it: We are told that it will be delivered on Tuesday, the 13th, between 5:30 and 9:00 PM. No problem, we check our calendars and verify that we can be home for 5:30 on Tuesday.

The day before the delivery: We get a message on our voice mail, reaffirming that the couch is being delivered on Tuesday, between 5:00 and 9:00. Wait… 5:00?!? We were told 5:30, when we bought it! We check our schedules, and confirm that we can be home for 5:00.

Tuesday, 3:40: serna has a conference call, which is supposed to end at 4:00. However, he has warned people that he needs to leave early.

3:50: serna stays five minutes later than he’d planned, because a discussion starts that he doesn’t want to miss. (He still ends up missing some of it.)

4:00: serna is on the DVP, and hits his first accident of the night. Traffic is backed up quite a ways, because of it.

4:30: serna picks up Andrea. They hear a traffic report, indicating that there is a second accident, near where they live, so they alter their route, to avoid it.

4:45: They are taking some non-major roads to get home, and hit a third accident. They’re not overly worried—it’s not likely that the delivery people will show up on the dot at 5:00—but serna still has visions in his head of getting home at 5:10, and seeing a note on the door. Sorry we missed you! Please call to reschedule this delivery at your convenience.

4:55 (or so): They get home, and there is no note on the door. They’ve made it!

5:00: serna decides not to have dinner, yet, because he wants to wait for the delivery people to arrive. No sense being half way through his food, and having to leave it to monitor the delivery people.

8:00: serna starts to worry. Where are these people? It’s not 9:00 yet, so they’re not late, but we were really expecting them earlier…

8:15: serna calls the customer service line. The man confirms that the delivery is still going to happen; they should be arriving at 8:55. (Cutting it kind of close, but oh well…)

8:45: The customer service people call. The delivery people are late; they’ll probably be arriving between 10 and 11. When serna mentions that, gee, this is pretty late, shouldn’t the delivery charge be dropped?, he is informed that yes, the delivery charge will be dropped. (Or rather, “comped”, since it’s already been paid.)

10:30: The delivery man calls. They’re running late; he’ll probably be arriving at 11:15. He apologizes profusely, because he knows it’s very late. Apparently Tuesdays are their busy days, for delivery—who knew?

11:15 (or so): They arrive. They bring in the couch, and haul it up the stairs to the guest room, and set it up. (i.e. they put the legs on.)

11:30 (or so): The delivery people leave.

11:30 and 30 seconds: serna has a realization: They didn’t leave the pillows! There are supposed to be two pillows that came with the couch! He runs to the front door, in time to see… nothing. The van, and its occupants—including the pillows—are gone.

So now I have to call the customer service line, to

  1. Make sure that I really will be comped.
  2. Find out what they’re doing to do about the pillows. We don’t really need/want them, but since we paid for them, we should either get them, or get reimbursed.
And that’s my story. It kind of puts things into perspective; how great must my life be, that this kind of thing is all I have to complain about?

Coffee Breath

Is it just me, or does cold coffee produce worse coffee breath than hot coffee?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Movie Review: Transformers

I saw Transformers last weekend. I didn’t like it. In fact, I thought the movie was terrible. I thought it was long, boring, and poorly written. It went something like this:

  1. Scene with lots of terrible, poorly written dialog, which goes on much, much longer than it should.
  2. A sudden chaotic flurry of action, which happens so fast you can’t tell what’s going on.
  3. Repeat ad nauseum
Now, I know what you’re probably going to say. You’re probably going to tell me that you disagree. In fact, you’re probably going to tell me in very strong terms. How do I know this? Because I’ve already had this conversation numerous times. It goes something like this:

“I didn’t like Transformers. In fact, I thought the movie was terrible. I thought it was long, boring, and poorly written.”

gasp splutter “You what?!? You didn’t like—

“How… How could you not like…

“That’s my favourite movie! It’s the best movie ever made! I’m naming my first born Transformer!

“What the heck is wrong with you, that you didn’t like Transformers?!?”

About this time, I have to take a step back, because the spittle is starting to hit my face, and I get worried about some of it dripping down onto my shirt.

So if you really feel the need to leave a comment, and tell me that I’m an idiot for not liking Transformers, go ahead. But don’t expect me to suddenly change my mind, and think that the piece of crap called Transformers was actually worth watching. Ain’t gonna happen.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Well it’s been a long and stressful week. Actually, I guess it’s still part of that week; I wrote this on Friday afternoon, and I still had Youth Group to go to, not to mention a wedding on Saturday.

Speaking of Youth Group, I still haven’t created a blog to write about it. I don’t know if that means I won’t bother; I would have assumed that I’d have done it by now, so maybe the fact that I haven’t been excited enough to do it means that I’ll never bother. On the other hand, it’s been on my mind the whole time—not taking up a lot of room, in my mind, just sort of huddled in the corner, staying out of the way—so that means that it’s not yet out of the question. A couple of weeks ago we went to some kind of a youth rally, and I met a lot of other leaders of youth groups, and it’s quite possible that we’re all going to want to keep in touch. Perhaps a blog will be part of that. (It would be really sad if the only thing preventing me from starting this stupid blog is that I can’t find a template I like…)

I was looking back through the serna Book Blog this afternoon, and realized that there are a lot of murder mysteries and spy novels there, and not a lot of “real” novels. Which is appropriate, I think; if I ever do finish my novel, it will be much more in the “light reading” category than in the “Great Canadian Novel” category. But still, I’d like to read some books that have more substance, too. So I’ve started reading The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai. I’ve heard good things, and so far I’m very much enjoying the writing. (I also have to re-read The End For Which God Created the World, because of an ongoing conversation I’m supposed to be having with a friend at church, but I haven’t looked at it yet.)

On an unrelated note, the relative that I’d written about, who had the stroke, is potentially going to be written up in a medical journal. Apparently the symptoms she had were very rare—she’s only the second person in Canada to have experienced it—so they’re going to write about it.

And that’s about it. The ennui continues, but I’m not worried about it. Work continues, which pays the bills. Church continues, which helps feed the soul. Youth Group continues, and hopefully I’m helping.